There’s no denying it, there has been an unoriginal movement in the First Person Shooter category of games for a long time now. Too many games have you playing the role of a soldier, or a space marine, or some variation on that theme, running down hallways and shooting enemies in an extreme form of A to B running. Rise of the Triad is the remake of the game that set this standard, and once again sets the standard in breaking it.
To alleviate the player of the monotony in gameplay, there might be a sequence where a regular game has you do something viscerally cool, like going down a zip-line and crashing into a window only to slo-mo kill a bunch of unwitting enemies. But ultimately, it’s an on-rails experience, with the illusion of movement simply because the player is able to move forward at their own pace.
The average shooter level usually consists of a pathway, generally decorated by crates, rubble and other kinds “authentic” figures to try and make the levels look and feel a bit better to hide the uncreativity of the actual level itself. I can remember playing a few games, such as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor, where you’re pretty much running forward from cutscene to action sequence to cutscene. The only changing of pace is when there is a plethora of scripted enemies or some kind of gameplay gimmick (like that section where you play as R2-D2 in Warfighter), which really only feels like a stop-gap, rather than a fix to the monotony. Even worse are the sections in recent Call of Duty games where there are non-stop scripted enemies spawning, designed to make sections more difficult simply because there are more obstacles to deal with, rather than smart obstacles that require you to actually think your way through.
Compare all of this to recent Rise of the Triad video game, published by Apogee and developed by Interceptor Entertainment, and you’ll find that the genre doesn’t have to be what it is today. As many classic gamers would know, Rise of the Triad is a remake of a game that first appeared in 1994, and was initially envisioned to be a sequel to the popular Wolfenstein 3D.
What makes this game interesting in the modern day gaming environment is that the game takes all of its design philosophies from an era where gaming was a medium of enjoyment and entertainment, not as a medium that tries to imitate Hollywood. While your standard shooter will bog you down with blatant railroading and uncreative and bland levels paced by boring cutscenes, Rise of Triad throws you into the deep end and has you navigating gauntlets of death, flying across the sky with jump pads and even more. There have been so few games with levels so involved and fun that it seems like other developers have simply forgotten how to design for them.
Rise of the Triad is a game of escalation. Things aren’t the same from level to level, you’re not undertaking some kind of stealth operation here, you’re constantly finding yourself in different and unusual situations that often require you to think outside of the box. For example, there’s these few parts where you’re required to safely navigate a maze of moving razor blades of death. There’s another level where you’re running across a building trying to not be pushed off by moving walls with spikes of death on them. To be honest, it’s this blend of platforming action and first person shooter gameplay that really drive the uniqueness of this game.
Man all of this and we still haven’t touched on how hilarious the game is to actually play. Rise of the Triad is one of those games where you’ll watch someone else play it and think to yourself: “Man that looks interesting, how can I get in on this?”, and then you actually find a way to get in on it. When you do, you just don’t want to put the mouse away.
Working your way through a Rise of the Triad level feels like a reward in and of itself in most cases. It’s the kind of game where you’ll look at something and talk yourself into thinking that it will be an easy challenge, only to find yourself stuck on the subtle nuances, or gimmick, on each level. Yet it’s so simple that you’ll always blame yourself for being unskilled, rather than for the game being designed poorly. For example, early in the game there’s a room with these jump pads that you need to jump onto to get onto the top of some walkways. Only you might have some trouble guiding yourself correctly or you might jump too early up on the top or something.
We know that we keep on going back to the way the levels are designed, but really, the levels are where the game takes place, and as such, should be the most regarded content of the game. However, the other elements are worth noting.
Elements such as the games insane sense of humour. There have been barely any games of recent note that carry the player in a comedic way. Most games would have you switching up the usual weapons and taking on the usual bad guys culminating in the end of an area in unrewarding manner by way of a boring cinematic ripped straight from Hollywood. In Rise of the Triad, you use a large variety weapons of different types to take out the enemy in interesting and often hilarious ways. Take the lightning staff, the god mode hand and even the baseball as examples of this.
What’s strange is that even though these types of items have been used in games in the past, and sometimes even whackier items, they’ve always been used in games with a serious tone. However, a game like Rise of the Triad is silly from the get-go, so you’re able to take the time to enjoy and roll with the comedy, because you’re already sitting there and taking in the joke while having a good time. It’s just a thing where it’s already easier to believe because you’ve already suspended your disbelief at everything else.
There’s just so much that a person could talk about when trying to recommend a game like Rise of the Triad. We feel that the only thing that it is lacking to make it true relic is a freeware distribution of the game. Apogee, you guys were well known for making this happen. And if we could get a freeware version of the game out there, perhaps we can ensure the success of a game that everyone should be playing. Because really, the gaming industry needs this game right now. And we need to influence enough young game designers to tackle fun in their games, so that the next generation of game designers fall out of the Hollywood trap that the gaming industry has found itself in.
Also, the ironsights do nothing, laugh at anyone n00bing about with them.